Julie Whitby

An Oriental Eye

The oven has an oriental eye
which looks beyond its squat platitude –
dirt-encrusted – I never noticed that before.
and how far does this eye see?
Just to the cobwebs and the pipes?
Or beyond them, through the wall
that’s waiting for the builder’s paw,
and over the gulls who always king and queen it
on the roofs that hedge in our longings,
even to the dream-encircling sea?

So does it stare compulsively out,
out of its narrow window, as I am prone to do?
Since only then may its dingy fate
and a sky glamorous, spinning with clouds who
could be anything,
anyone, and are free,
enter in
Cherchez le prince en ciel -
did you play with those magical cards as a child?

For what we don’t receive be thankful:
the oven has no right of reply.


Ugly orange neon
cranes its neck forwards like
some stout, middle-aged hag
hunting for that bargain
in a dismal church hall.
Or an unwanted girl
at a dance: the dance of the street
where all other eyes flash
that quick serach,
knowledge of desire.
Girl, hag, neon, street:
all meet in me, each instant.

Julie Whitby © 2014

Holy Rose

Snow Rose of Macedon
Rose of the morning,
Rise from your radiant bed.
Let the Rose Mass be said –
the white rose kicking heavenwards
as did that rare Teresa of Avila
who danced in ecstasy
before the altar.

‘Unveil white blossomer’ commands the sun.
‘Daylight becomes your candid nakedness’.

Now by the candle’s flame we see
the white retiring Rose en déshabille.
Her petals part, revealing what’s to come,
Bright as that birth star over Bethlehem.

Snow Rose of Macedon,
Rose of the evening.

Rotting Fabrics

Menacing green apples,
heartless skin of lover
smooth as lychees, unperturbed:

tinned. Wayward images that
wander. Will not form a
purple sea: crash their symbols,

froth and foam restore me,
hurl a stormy wonder -
no red lace petticoat

lies empty. They're nibbling at
my verse. Menacing, sour apples,
tea-bags, coffee-skins of lovers; matt.

Julie Whitby © 2014